What’s Up??? (Plus: Killer announcement about my next book)

June 14th, 2012

Hey, sorry I’ve been gone for a while… over a week!   Here’s what I’ve been doing:

A few weeks ago my wife asked if I would help with my oldest daughter in a week-long school program.  Some of you know we homeschool… which means they are busy with lots of programs outside of the home.

This one is a week-long “government” simulation with kids age 12 – 18ish.  It’s kind of a long story, but in a nutshell, there is a group of people who left plane earth about 300 years ago to find a new planet, only to be stuck there.  In the last 300 years they grew from 1,000 to 500,000, and live in five countries.  Each of the countries is ruled differently (theocracy, monarchy, dictatorship, etc.).  The kids are split up into one of the five countries and have spent the last four days working within their own government system, understanding it, and also working with other countries.

It has been a BLAST.  This is my first time doing something like this.  I’m the King over the monarchy.  It was fun to figure out what kind of king I would be… nice or mean, eccentric or laid back, etc.  Yesterday I was asked to do something different because all my kids love me and my kingdom too much… doing something eccentric might jar them a bit.  So we basically declared war on a country during peace treaties.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been from morning to night.  My brain is doing totally different stuff, so it’s like the first week on the job where you come home exhausted!  I love getting to know these kids better, especially since I’ve heard about them for so long. Today it ends, so I should be back in the work saddle pretty soon.

Speaking of which, I had an epiphany related to my next book, 101 Alternatives to a Real Job.

For various reasons, I’ve decided to call it 51 Alternatives to a Real Job.

Ugh, just writing that makes me feel like, in a sense, I’m quitting :(

Actually, there are some good reasons to take it down to 51:

  • With 51, I’m pretty much done writing them all up.  What was supposed to be done about 7 months ago can now get done in the next few weeks.  Yippee!!  Gotta get “to market!”  It was killing me thinking this project was going way too long!
  • With 51 ideas I’ll have room for more tips and actionable takeaways.  I was getting worried the amount of pages needed for 101 would be too big AND not leave much room for actionable stuff.
  • If I ever want to do a second edition, or a Part II, I realized finding 51 more would be A LOT easier than finding 101 more!

Those are the main ideas.  I’m meeting with the editor tomorrow to see what the next steps are, and I hope to have the 51 to a Real Job book out SOON!

Thanks for all your support!



Two Things You Do That Bug Recruiters

June 8th, 2012

I know, I know, you don’t love recruiters.

You are confused because they are supposedly there to help you, but they seem like they are part of the resume black hole. They don’t share much information, and rarely get back to you.

This was my experience.  I did not understand the recruiter / candidate (you, the job seeker, are the “candidate”) role.  I thought there were there to help me find a job, or to find one for me.  Indeed, that’s not how it works at all.

If you are frustrated with recruiters, you need to read this post: How Come Recruiter’s Never Call Me Back? CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT – IT’S YOU!.  Dan Levine shares two frustrations that recruiters have when they contact you.

The first is when you immediately ask “who is the client?”  They sometimes can’t tell you, but that’s the main thing you want to talk about.  Dan shares a great idea on how what you should do, instead of letting this be the stumbling block (read it here).

The second is when you ask about the compensation package.  I know why we do this.  If a recruiter calls and wants to offer me a job for $x, and I need to make $y or $z, it doesn’t make sense to talk much about that job, right?  Right!

Dan is suggesting that we (job seekers) take a different approach (read it here). I agree with him. I wish recruiters would be more open about the compensation, but whether they are or not, we need to start looking at recruiters as really good networking contacts, not just a tool.

A “really good networking contact” is a long-term relationship, not dependent on the one job that they called us about.  As Dan says, perhaps give them a referral instead of brushing them off.  You do that enough times and you should have a recruiter that thinks you are pretty cool, and might go the extra mile for you.

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Job Search Tip and Idea: Volunteering and making your path public

June 7th, 2012

This is a post about getting value out of trying to volunteer, without really volunteering.

I was talking with my wife about a friend who is in transition.  She reminded me about the idea of volunteering, which I have written about, but it’s been a while.

I love the idea of volunteering, but it didn’t really work for me. I called a cople of organizations and when I tried to talk to them about volunteering, they gave me a deer-in-the-headlights response.  Like they never heard of someone wanting to volunteer to help. I’m not sure what part of my approach was wrong, but this was definitely low hanging fruit… and I moved on.

I love the idea of volunteering… for various reasons:

  • You get out of the house.  This has all kinds of great implications (you’ve bathed, you have dressed in something other than pajamas, you have done your hair, etc.).
  • You get to be around human beings, in a work environment.  This means you are around professionals… which is a necessity in the job search.
  • You get to meet new people.  Networking is the bomb, right?  This is a key point: make sure the places you volunteer make sense as far as meeting new people that can help you move your job search forward.
  • … more, I’m sure.

But this isn’t a post saying you need to volunteer.  This is a post on how to get value out of trying to volunteer, whether you volunteer or not.

Here’s the scenario I came up with:

Imagine you go to a meeting with professionals in your (industry/profession/geography).

If you can somehow introduce yourself (some meetings have this as a standard practice. Otherwise, ask the host if you can introduce yourself and offer your volunteer time/services.), do something like this (keep it SHORT):

“My name is Jason Alba.  While I’m in transition I’ve decided to look for some volunteer opportunities. I have experience in collecting payroll temp information (yes, get that specific, if it’s the right audience) and ______.  I’d like to volunteer at an organization that __________.  If you know of any companies that could use my expertise, please let me know after the meeting.  Again, I’m in transition, and looking for a role in ________ doing ________.”

Edit that as you like.

So here’s what just happened – in front of dozens or hundreds of your peers and colleagues, you gave them your value proposition and pitch.  You did it in a non-threatening, non-hurting way.  You have a captive audience, and they all got 30 to 60 seconds of interesting information about you.

What do you think?



Head Injury, Emergency Room, How To Pay For ER Visit

June 6th, 2012

Last night we spent four hours in the emergency room with our oldest son.  As my wife said on Facebook, he got into a fight with a tetherball pole, and he lost.

The “before” picture is below. It’s pretty gory.  The “cut” or whatever it’s called was bigger than his mouth. If you don’t like gore, don’t scroll down.  Or, if you are eating, come back later.

Overall, we had a good experience at the emergency room. The doctor and nurses were awesome.  William was scared more than he was in pain… and the anticipation of stitches and staples built up after three hours of waiting.  Poor kid :(

I was reminded of my accident when I was new to my job search. I cut my hand and was going into shock. I was more worried about how to pay for an ER visit than anything else.  I had no income, no insurance, and was looking at paying at least hundreds of dollars just to get stitched up.  I went all DIY and tried superglue, which turns out to have been a great alternative.

Now, we have a special type of “insurance” where we are covered 100%, up to $5k, for accidents like this. I don’t know what it is called, and rarely hear about it.  But I love it.  This will be the second time we use it.  It’s nice to know this entire accident will be paid for.

Going back to what I’ve blogged about before, did you know that you can get discounts on your hospital visits?

Last night we learned we get a 25% discount for being self-pay.  That is awesome (although I think it speaks volumes about the problems with health insurance companies and processes).

We got another 15% discount just because we paid “in full” last night.

40% discount.  That’s awesome.

Please, please, please, ask your healthcare provider what discounts they provide if you are “self pay” and if you pay right away.  When our youngest son was born we got a 50% discount.  I find that amazing.  I’ve heard of others who have gotten 60% off their bill.  This can apply to the hospital and all associated service providers… even for medication.

Some neat facts about head injuries:

  • You know there is a lot of bleeding from a head injury, right?  What I didn’t know was that is a great thing – the body flushes out a lot of contaminates and lowers the chance of infection. I thought all the blood was bad, but it was actually a great thing.
  • There are not as many nerve endings on the scalp as other places (like the toe, which is where he last had stitches, a few years ago, and remembered the pain!)… so it was not a very painful procedure.
  • The maintenance on this type of injury is really low.  We were surprised that he could resume normal activity so soon, including bathing/showering, etc.  I thought we’d have to pamper the wound, but that’s not the case for us.
  • Staples and stitches come out in 10 days.  I didn’t realize that’s all they needed.

Here’s one of the pictures before staples (10) and stitches (4 under the skin, and a few on the top of the skin):



LinkedIn for Job Seekers III DVDs shipped today!

June 5th, 2012

I just got back from a run to the post office.  I had a box full of envelopes and packages of the new LinkedIn for Job Seekers III DVD.  This went out to coaches and resume writers, as well as individuals who bought it on their own, as well as people who got Bundle 1 or Bundle 2.

I LOVE shipping DVDs.

More than that, I love the conversations I’ve had with career professionals in the last few weeks as I invited them to pre-purchase the DVDs.  I’m amazed at the trust they have in me, and their enthusiasm for incorporating this into their offerings.

I’m a pretty normal guy but talking with colleagues, partners and JibberJobber users can tend to make me feel pretty special.

Thank you, for your support!

(Note: while I found one type-o on the DVD, another one totally eluded me.  But when I picked up the disks it jumped out and punched me in the nose…. that will be an error to fix for the next edition of the DVD!  I’ve you find the mistake I’ll give you a pony a virtual high five!)

To get your own DVD, check out this specials page.

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Blown away: Browser search on JibberJobber Data (Chrome only)

June 4th, 2012

Today I was blown away.  Amazed.

Let me explain:  I’ve gotten so used to doing searches from the browser bar that sometimes I forget that I couldn’t do that for my JibberJobber data.  In other words, do a search for “dog food” in your browser (URL) bar and the browser returns search results from a search engine (Chrome defaults to Google, Internet Explorer defaults to Bing, etc.).

Sometimes I search for a name in my JibberJobber database expecting JibberJobber to return the results… but of course that wouldn’t work.

I asked my team to put that on our two-mile list of enhancements… and there it sits while we work on other stuff.

Today I kind of made a mistake… here’s what I did (in Chrome – this did not work on Internet Explorer or Firefox):

1. Type in the browser… instead of hitting enter, I hit the space bar.

Note: sometimes, when searching, I’ve typed JibberJobber {search phrase} in the browser… that is not the same thing.  I do this to find blog posts… like this: JibberJobber webinar

When I hit the spacebar, look what my browser shows:

I saw that and my heart skipped a beat… could it be true?  Could I really do a search on something from within the browser URL? Do you know how cool that would be?  Na, it couldn’t be true.

Alas, I tried it… and this is what I got:

Now, if I’m looking for something, instead of going to JibberJobber and searching, I can simply open a new tab, type and hit the space bar, and put the search phrase… amazing!

This is amazing.  Thank you Google and Chrome team!  I LOVE THIS!


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